Becoming Supermommy alerted me a while back to the Mom Pledge, an idea I really like and needed to know more about. She graciously agreed to write a post for me explaining the pledge and what it means to all of us.
I’m not the creator of the Mom Pledge. I’m just a mom, and a champion for it. You see, there are bullies all over the place, we just don’t usually call them that.
I remember being a kid. I was weird. I was awkward. I had huge hair, gigantic glasses, and a crooked smile. I was a teacher’s pet, a know-it-all. I never got in trouble, I always had my hand in the air. My family were vegetarians, so I always had strange or exotic foods (by lunchroom standards) in my lunch sack, “Vruit” juice boxes and Baybel minis replaced Capri Suns and lunchables. I was one of a half dozen Jewish kids in my whole school, and another two were my sisters. In short, I was bullied mercilessly.
My parents would repeat, over and over, the same explanations for why I would come home from school heartbroken and miserable. “Kids are mean,” they’d say. “But one day they’ll grow up and stop being so mean.” The implication was that bullying is a childhood phenomena, and that once you outgrow your childhood, you outgrow bullying.
Nowadays, I’ve resigned myself to the idea that I’m a grown-up. I must be, after all I’m approaching 30 at a steady pace, I have children, I do a fairly good job behaving as a responsible member of society. I don’t always feel like an adult, but for the sake of argument I’ll agree that I am. And I’m still being bullied.
Not by other kids, but by other moms.
At first, this seemed absolutely absurd. Adults? Bullying each other? Surely not! But they do.
Each mother is fairly certain that what they’re doing for their child(ren) is the right thing to do. Unfortunately, many mothers don’t leave it at that. For many mothers, the choice by another mom to parent differently is an indictment. And in their defensive angst, they attack.
Moms gang up and bully other moms for not homeschooling.
For vaccinating or not vaccinating.
For choosing to hide the gender of their children.
For raising their children in a specific faith.
For NOT raising their children in a specific faith.
For what the feed or don’t feed their kids.
For how they dress their kids.
For what they name their kids.
For the way they gave birth.
For nursing too long or not nursing at all.
For watching some or no television.
For having a family structure they don’t agree with.
Every detail of parenting is personal, and therefore every parent takes the conversation about parenting personally. And when you get personal, things can get ugly.
It’s said that you should never talk about religion or politics in polite company. I would add parenting to that list. It’s a hot button topic.
But the fact of the matter is that we DO talk about parenting. The mommy blogosphere is HUGE- there are MILLIONS of moms across the world blogging about being a mom. Blogging about their parenting choices.
And because the internet is perfect for connecting moms to other like minded moms, it’s easy to form a mob. Easy to organize a few moms into a horde of enraged bullies who attack another mother until she shuts down her blog, changes her aliases, or abandons the blogosphere altogether.
And that is a terrible thing.
We don’t all have to agree. I don’t know a single mom who hasn’t made a choice for their kids that I disagree with. Not in the real world, and not online. And that’s because we all have to make the choices that work best for OUR lives, for OUR families. And the fact that we make particular choices does not give us the right to attack anyone else for disagreeing with us.
That’s why I took The Mom Pledge. And that’s why I urge you to do the same. Pledge not to allow your online space to be somewhere that people are attacked or attack others. Pledge to facilitate conversations, not mobs. Pledge to treat other moms, no matter what their parenting choices, with respect.
Because we’re all moms. We all know how hard it is. How much work children are. How gratifying every milestone can be, how each step they take towards maturity makes you beam with pride and still breaks your heart. How everything you do, you do to make sure that they have a good life. A life at least as good as your own, but hopefully better.
That’s all any of us want for our kids. Whether we vaccinate or not, circumcise or not, home school or not, no matter what we teach them about God or Science or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Our kids grow up, they go into the world and have to make friends with other people. And they pick up lessons we don’t even know we’re giving them. If we, as moms, attack each other, our kids will learn to attack each other. And so on. But if we treat each other, always, with respect and consideration, our kids will not grow into bullies. They’ll see that grown-ups do not engage in that awful behavior, and as they have since their earliest months, they will want to make us proud by being LIKE us.
So let’s be the best examples we can be. Let’s stand together, despite all our disagreements, for an world that is an improvement over the world in which we grew up. Let’s take The Mom Pledge together, support each other in the exhausting and difficult endeavor of raising children, and let’s put a stop to mommy bullying.
For more information, visit The Mom Pledge.
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